Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Weird ideas that work

I tell you if I’m ever in a position to hire anybody and the job requires unlimited capacity to generate new ideas and problem-solve, 9 out of 10 times I’m hiring a mom because a day doesn’t go by when I don’t have to yank some crazy scheme or remedy or solution or explanation from my rumpus in an exhausting constant effort to love, protect and shape the small children that live in my house.

Here’s what is working lately.

I’ve been focusing a lot of my energy on smooth transitions (i.e. when I leave the house in the morning or when I drop the kids off at school) and my work seems to be paying off. Three days a week my husband takes the kids to school in the morning and I leave early so that I can then pick them up on the early side. It used to be that one or both of them would throw a fit when I left scarring me for the rest of the day. The kids were fine thirty seconds later of course but I was a hollowed by the ordeal. Now we do “bye bye from the window”. Every morning, no matter who’s leaving early, we say our goodbyes with the traditional hug and a kiss, high-five and thumbs up. Then the kids jump onto the sofa and watch for me (or my husband) out the window. I leave and quickly run around to the front of the house and do a silly dance and sometimes come all the way up to the window for high-fives at the window. The kids shout their goodbyes and wave and laugh and I can leave with my heart intact. This has been working for several months actually with only the occasional break-down.

On the days when I deliver the kids to school I’ve been trying a modified version of “bye bye from the window”. My son comes with me to drop off my daughter. In her classroom I kiss her goodbye and then do a “one-and-a-two-and-a-three” ali-yoop full-body swinging motion and land her in her teacher’s arms. Then her teacher does the same thing landing her in the middle of the room on the carpet next to various toys and distractions. She’s probably so dizzy she doesn’t notice I’ve gone. Then my son and I go over to his room and we do our hug and kiss routine. Then I say, “bye-bye from the window”. He runs to the window and I walk outside and over the window and we do our window high-five. Then he meanders over to his class and starts his day. No tears. No looks of despair. Drop-off perfection.

How I need to work on our nighttime ritual. “Night-night from the window” seems a little irresponsible. Goodnight kids! We’re going to the movies…